100-Word Stroll, 9/24/16: THAT AIN’T NURTURAL

Remember back when we used to write to one another?  We even used cursive as we were taught.  Paid attention to proper grammar.  Like that.  We wrote complete sentences and dared not try substituting single vowels for words.

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We tended to think more and deeply because we refused to allow life’s pace to become a headlong rush toward tomorrow.  We sat over A&W sharing fries and talked about cabbages and kings.  We had time for each other, back when, though we scarce took advantage of it.  We were friends, never knowing how profound a thing those friendships would become once we all began approaching the half-century mark since graduating together.

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Yesterday an old friend exhibited one of those ‘deeply’ thoughts in sharing the comment, “. . . nurture needed to mend this ragged world.”

nurture is a noun meaning the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.

Yes, enduring friend.  Needed indeed, and urgently.  Talk is cheap.  Politics is stuffed with it.  The meme says, “Ignore what they say; instead, watch what they do.”

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The day’s news is full of the antithesis of nurture.  Having reached nominal adulthood never having seen it, following generations find ‘nurture’ meaningless.  Nurture takes time.  Nurture calls for examples.

It’s up to us, the Boys and Girls of Back When, to live out nurture of our town and nation – and its people, especially the younger ones.  This ragged world is a big place.  To nurture where we are and send the nurtured forth into it seems the best strategy, yet it takes time.

Do you suppose we’d best get started?

Thank you, old friend, for your thoughtful prompt.  You know who you are.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

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100-Word Stroll, 9/23/16: CAN’T WAIT TO MEET RALPH

Ralph’s my longsuffering GA.  He’s no cute, pudgy little androgynous munchkin often portrayed in art.  Hunh-uh.  Not Ralph.

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I’m unsure how guardian angels are matched with their Earthly charges, but I’m guessing that short meeting with God produced a facepalm.  Ol’ Ralph apparently drew the short straw when God called him aside.

“Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is—”  and here God eloquently twitched His head and slanted His eyes in my direction–  “to stick by him and get him safely here.”

Hebrews 1:14 says that’s his job.  But I figure about here’s where Ralph’s epic facepalm happened.  I turn 64 in a week, so he’s still got plenty of adventures ahead of him.  I won’t go into any specifics relating to those already past; they’re too legion to list.

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You’ve heard them.  “When I get to Heaven, the first one I want to see when I step inside the Gate is—-”  I’ve always figured it’ll be whoever’s first in line, pleasantly surprised to see me.  Yet one I’ll be searching for is Ralph.

He’s going to get a fierce hug reserved only for scarred veterans who’ve Been There together.  I might even shed a few tears before God wipes them away for good.

There’s a lot I don’t know about Ralph, but I know this.

If Heaven issues combat pay he qualifies.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

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100-Word Stroll, 9/20/16: PUMPING GRACE

The comment on this morning’s quiet time Scripture, Hebrews 9:11-14  grabbed me by my mind’s collar, bringing my roughhousing thoughts up short.

“Infuse my body, soul and spirit with Your grace.”

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Big deal, right?  Meaningless – unless, that is, you’ve ever been or are now a Total Parenteral Nutrition consumer.  There’s nothing polite about having a Hickman catheter stuffed through the upper chest down into one’s subclavian vein, and a pump forcing live-giving food and drink via IV.

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Infusion therapy like that is life-and-death, and often the former only staving off the inevitability of the latter.

Until God chose to heal me I was there.  You’ll understand, then, why the statement – the prayer – for God to be infusing my body-soul-spirit with His grace is such a powerful thing for me to consider.  I know what a difference TPN infusions made, literally keeping me alive.

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To think about walking each day with a 24/7 infusion of Grace?  PRICELESS.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

 
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100-Word Stroll, 9/19/16: STUNNINGLY AWESOME WHILE UNCONSCIOUS


Of COURSE it’s possible.

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Your conscious mind is able to process approximately 50 bits of information a second, while your nonconscious mind processes approximately 11 million bits per second. That means your nonconscious mind processes information about 220 THOUSAND TIMES FASTER than your conscious mind.

Your mind’s used to doing what God created it to do at speeds you can only dream about–while you’re asleep.

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Your job is to install the best stuff at conscious speed.  Then rest, calmly step away from your mind and observe it go WHIS-S-S-S-S-H like good ol’ NCC 1701 heading out at warp 9.

How?  Philippians 4 says to knock off worrying, substituting praying about it all while showing/speaking gratitude for what God’s already done and is doing (v. 6).  The promised return:  divine peace of mind and spirit – and in our world, that’s something to be reaching for (v. 7)!

More to the point:  Aim at, intentionally focus on, “filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (v. 8).

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“So that whole GARBAGE IN / GARBAGE OUT thing is for true?”

Yep.  It are.  You get out exactly what you input – at speeds you can only imagine.

Give it some thought.  Then go to sleep.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

 

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100-Word Stroll, 9/16/16: #1 WAY TO SMACK-DOWN YOUR CRITICAL SPIRIT

Be still.  Stay quiet.  Shut to the up.  Stifle.  Whatever way most works for you, don’t say anything and wait.

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Stay silent long enough for your second or third thought to sink in.  Critical Spirit abhors silence and is instant to jump at another’s words and actions.  Giving oneself time to think almost always generates empathy or at least sympathy for the other person.

CS:  “I wouldn’t leave the house dressed like that, let alone come to church!”  2nd/3rd:  “Hey–I remember shopping for suits at Goodwill.  Maybe that’s the best they have right now.  At least they’re here.  And if they’re where you can see them, they’re in front of YOU, now aren’t they?”

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CS:  “What an unsafe rattletrap!  That piece of junk doesn’t belong on the road!”  2nd/3rd:  “Know what?  It runs.  Remember some of the wrecks you’ve had to drive?  It might be all they have.”

CS:  “Wow!  Couldn’t they have found a better speaker?  BOR-ing…”  2nd/3rd:  “Well, he’s UP there, isn’t he?  He’s doing his best – and I don’t see you up there.”

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One with a critical spirit often criticizes in others what they see most in themselves.  It’s worth thinking about.

One diagnostic question to the hypercritical one:  How would YOU like being thought about and spoken of like you just were about somebody else?

What if they heard you or someone else told them what you’d said?

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

Categories: Encouragement, Wisdom | Tags: , | 1 Comment

100-Word Stroll for 9/15/16: WHY MANIPULATING PEOPLE & THINGS IS LIKE COMMANDING A CAT

Cats don’t know the script.  If they did, it wouldn’t matter because cats can’t read.  If they could, it wouldn’t matter because cats are fickle.  They have an annoying tendency to do what they want.

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People are the same way.  People choose.  Rarely do they follow your script.

The aging CEO chose his successor by giving all his ambitious candidates a seed to plant.  After a year they were to bring back whatever they’d grown.

1 year later . . .  All but one – Jim – brought back beautiful, green, lush trees and plants and flowers.  Jim only had a pot of dirt.

“Everyone?  Jim’s your new CEO.”

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He’d given them boiled seeds that could not grow.  When nothing grew, each of the others substituted another seed.

The canny leader told them, “Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with the seed I gave him in it. He showed us all that he has the honesty, goodness, humility, perseverance, wisdom, and ethical and moral fiber to lead this company!”

The others were sorry and vowed from then on to do better.  Whether true or not is unknown.  The lesson is inescapable:  you may wish with all inside you for things to be different and from that point you may in fact work for positive change – but consequences last.

Be careful what you plant now;  it will determine what you reap later.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

 

 

 

Categories: Common Sense, Encouragement, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

WHEN LAST HE BREATHED – A Granger Story

I sat quiet on the mossy marled bluff overlooking Grassy Lake, sipping strong, hot pinon coffee from the thermos I’d brought with me and concentrating on my breathing.  I listened to the breeze whispering to me of my friend.  I thought again of the odd thing he’d said as we spoke by phone just an hour or so before God promoted him:  “We each exhale one more time than we inhale.”  Actively dying, he was still engaging in his first love – teaching, sharing, encouraging others.

“Granger.”  My voice had sounded like 3 AM feels when the little device buzzed and the urgent voice on the phone said, “This is Pam in ED.  They just brought Rex back in; he’s been asking for you and Doctor says there isn’t much time.”  I grabbed the faded jeans and Packers tee I’d tossed on “The Chair”.  Jamming bare feet into my worn Docker slip-ons, I grabbed my keys and wallet and was on my way to Starke Medical Center’s ER.

Its barely-controlled mayhem was familiar to me.  Yet that microsecond when a sentient being passes from Here to There still impresses me with its sudden contrast and vast permanence.  I knew I was about to experience it once again, this time with one of my most revered mentors and my friend.  It’s different when it’s someone who means something to you.  It’s personal.

     “Who are you, young man?”

     “Granger, Sir.”

     “Have you a first name?”  I told him.  He said his name was Rex.

     “Why did you come here?” 

I remember taking another more careful look at him.  My first impression was, well–a typical first impression.  His diction, his studied, casual ease of grammar betrayed his easy, comfortable dress and manner.  My kid’s mind learned its first lesson from him:  slow your thinking that darts here and there like an pre-adolescent laser; put a muzzle on your quick-draw opinions.  Remember that people do things as they do for a reason, requiring neither your acceptance nor approval.

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Had I not sought him out, I’d have walked right past him as he stood in his driveway rhythmically sweeping dust and grit off the concrete.  Nothing about his greyish-tan work pants or sun-aged wheat-colored shirt sought  attention.  With the long sleeves half-rolled and the tattered straw hat, he seemed like any other older guy.

I made an error common, I suppose, to all youth:  I assumed he was less wise than he looked because of his age, and I more so because of my youth.

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“Why did you come here,” he’d asked.  His questions weren’t rude, but interested.  His eyes were keen, seeking.  There was a gentle, thrumming power about Rex’s spirit I couldn’t describe, but that set me at ease while drawing my total attention lest I miss a word or thought.  In those first moments together I realized why those whom I trusted recommended I seek him out.  They also said it might take some doing; he was not easy to find.  He didn’t look like Yoda.  There sure seemed, though, to be similarities.

     “I read a lot, sir.  I like good quotations.  I found one by a man I don’t know that I really like.  “Don’t wait for someone to take you under their wing. Find a good wing and climb up underneath it.”

The man canted his head toward his right shoulder, eyeing me.  “Who wrote it?” 

     “Some guy named Frank C. Bucaro.”  The man smiled appreciatively.  “That sounds like Frank.”

     “You know him?”  Again the slow smile.  “I spent two years with him.  He has a nimble, amazing mind.  He’s become somewhat of a specialist in teaching ethics and values-based leadership.” 

     “Value-ba–  So he’s a professor or psychologist?”  I remember that made him chuckle. 

     “Nothing so mundane.  Frank’s a dentist.”

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“You can come back now.”  The nurse was urgently motioning me toward the double “RESTRICTED ACCESS – AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY” doors.  Smacking the square metal “Open doors” button on the wall with the bottom of my fist as I’d done so often, I walked into the busy ER.  A surgeon I knew bobbed his head at me and, slanting his eyes to the left, nodded to the adjoining second trauma bay.

Eyes closed, Rex didn’t look imposing now.  Just tired.  In weary repose, he seemed as though he’d aged ten years just since I’d last seen him the previous week.

Glancing from long habit up at the monitor, I was shocked at the low numbers.  I eyed the nurse checking his IV lines.  She grimaced and shrugged slightly, pointing to the DNR note printed in block letters on the back of a folded sheet and taped to the IV pole.

“Thank you for coming to be with me.”  He must have sensed my nearness.  His voice was hushed, as one does when visiting an old chapel or church.

The Starke ER was normal for a city trauma center.  People die there.   To the staff and and cops standing there, Rex was just one more.  Yet to me it felt like Heaven had somehow generated a force field, a noise and atmosphere bubble surrounding T2.

There was a sense of the holy there; peace was a tangible thing I hadn’t experienced since my own brushes with leaving this life.  I felt it.  Looking into his eyes, I saw he did, too.

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“Granger, I was waiting for you.  Of all whom God has privileged me to mentor, you are the one I choose.”

I stood mute, not understanding.

Rex’s familiar thrumming baritone surfaced through his weakness as he reached for my right hand.  Grasping it, he looked straight up and out, through and beyond me, beyond Time and said, “Father, this is the one . . .”

     “He will walk through life often unnoticed, rubbing off Your fragrance and character as lilies leave their pollen on any who brush against them.  Because of who and how he is, Granger will often be lonely in crowds; not isolated, but unknown.  Sustain and continue building him through those times of solitude as he passes among their shallowness like a barracuda glides through a school of anthias.”  Rex paused for a couple of breaths.

“They’ll not know Your very Presence has been among them until much later.  Let his essence, the aroma of Heaven, waft behind him, touching all.

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     “Oh Master, lead to him a series of Grangers into whose life he can speak and write Your unknown knowledge.  He is the uncommon, gifted writer I always wished I could be.  Pour Yourself, Holy Spirit, as living ink through his pen that touches his readers right at the point of their need and draws them to You.  Send more and more readers to his work!  Bless him with material and financial resources so he may continue this unusual work for which You so obviously have healed him, and to which You, God, keep calling him.

     “Humbly I thank You, Lord, for this privilege of pouring all You’ve given me into this amazing, unusual, unique man whom I joyfully in this life have had the pleasure to call my friend.  Now lay my mantle upon him, O God.”

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Rex laid quiet then.  His whole manner slumped.  Wiping tears with my left hand, I heard his now-husky, hushed voice say something else.  Leaning closer, I looked my question into his eyes.

“Granger, lay your hand over my heart.”  He weakly pulled my right hand that he still held over and positioned it over his heart.  “Leave it there until I’ve gone.  I want to experience this with you, my wonderful friend and brother.”

Moving around the gurney to his left side, I laid my hand over his heart.  As I felt its life-giving pulse, my mind wandered to countless times we’d walked together in his garden, discussing.  Lessons learned, thoughts soaring like cathedral spires, penetrating glances accompanied by loving piercings of spiritual guidance and encouragement.  Thousands of cups of coffee shared over quiet times as we compared new things God was revealing to us both.

His resonant baritone surprised me.  “You’ve written so often about Ralph.  I’ve been looking forward to meeting him.”  He closed his eyes, slightly smiled and said, “We all exhale one more time—”  And he did.  The sturdy heart that had carried him through so many colorful, amazing experiences was finally still.  I selfishly held my hand in place, hoping, perhaps daring even to pray for another beat or two.  I thought of Numbers 23:10 Rex and I had talked about several times through the past weeks of his declining health:  “I want to die like these right-living people!  I want an end just like theirs!”

True to his nature, Rex had preplanned this event and there was nothing to do other than to verify whom he had chosen to handle his final requests.  Reluctantly, I withdrew my hand, stood and stepped back from this tiny Celestial enclave formerly known as Trauma 2.

Glancing down at the forgotten mug in my hand, I realized two things.  I’d been all but holding my breath as I relived the passing of one of this life’s true legends for me.  I’d also let my coffee get cold–something neither Rex nor I ever knowingly allowed to happen in all the years we’d spent together.

Tossing the cold pinon off in the scrub grass beside the rock I sat on, I poured some more from the battered Coleman thermos.  As I was threading the stopper back on, it seemed like the wispy clouds out over the lake were forming, “S M H”.  Laying the thermos down, I looked eagerly back up there.

Of course not.  One’s mind during times of trauma and stress can see all sorts of things not really there.  Drawing a deep breath felt so good I drew another.

I sat listening to the lapping of water on the shore below the rocky bluff.  I sat listening to gulls ardently discussing the snackworthiness of something they’d found.  I sat with moist eyes remembering my unforgettable friend.

Then, sipping several mouthfuls of great coffee, I laid the warm “Perkatory” mug down on the rock beside me.   Reaching into my bag for my pad and pen, I jotted the day’s date and wrote the heading . . .

LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING RALPH.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

 

 

 

 

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100-Word Stroll, 9/13/16: 2 WAYS TO REST WHILE KEEPING CREATIVITY FLOWING

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Based on Hebrews 4:8-9, the morning prayer reads, “I long to enter into your rest – into creative work that is effortless, into joyous activity in which there is no fatigue, into glorious praise of which I will not tire! Thank you for the Good News that there remains a Sabbath Rest for the people of God.”

This is personally encouraging to me.  I hope it is for you.

TWO WAYS . . .

  1. GO WITH YOUR KNOW.  Keep at it, doing your best in (and at) that moment.  You’ll always find out things you didn’t know when you started, and you’ll never know everything.  It’s the nature of any kind of work.  Give yourself permission to tuck any new ‘know’ into your Room Called Remember until needed.

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  1. GROW WITH THE FLOW.  Stamp “DONE” on it and begin the next one.  Become fast friends with your Outbox.  ‘Perfect’ and ‘rest’ are strangers.  There’s a fine line between “Good enough” and “Aah, that’ll do”.  As you accrue a pile of “DONEs”, it builds confidence, assurance that you’ll do even better the next time.  

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Practicing this list of two won’t plunk you in a stunning desert oasis with an overstuffed chaise lounge, a lifetime pass to the next door Panera and three former Congressmen to constantly serve you.  But it will make anything you do less restrictive and irritating, bringing you closer to a restful state of being, which always comes from inside.  Right?

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The whining and, ah, quirks of the former gentlepersons will, of course, ameliorate your peace somewhat.  Challenges do exist.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2016

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100-Word Stroll for 9/11/16: GRITTY FAITH

“The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.” – from the movie, American Gangster

“True prayer is measured by weight, not by length.” – C. H. Spurgeon

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Nobody on the top floors of the North tower had a lot of time to pray.  Some of Earth’s most pungent, spirit-packed cries for help and courage punched straight through Hell’s virulent, writhing evil that morning and bathed God’s face with the tears of His children.

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When Islamist terrorists guided United 175 and its 65 passengers and crew into the South tower, everyone knew it was purposeful.  Once again, America’s enemies declared open war against us.

The weak and compromising equivocate.  The cunning users plot.  The predatory power-mad and money-mongers connive.

Such has always been true since the American Revolution.

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It has also been true when those enemies from within declared themselves by their actions, those loving God and the nation He pledged to help them build as they held Him and His Word in their sights always stepped up.

They are now.  The finest combination on Earth is the trained warrior who is also God’s Warrior.

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When God’s warriors go down on their knees, the battle’s not over.

IT JUST GOT REAL.  And all Hell knows what happens when God steps in.  And the closer His intervention becomes, the louder it and those who foolishly align themselves with its values hurl their labels and epithets.

Watch, yes.  Not everyone on your six is your friend.

But watch AND KEEP PRAYING.  God’s not even started yet.

© D. Dean Boone, September 11, 2016

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HISTORY: FACTS BIGGER THAN LIFE

HERE IS A BIT OF U.S. HISTORY I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW…

Hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 the U.S. Secret Service found themselves in a bind.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was to give his Day of Infamy speech to Congress on Monday  and, although the trip from the White House to Capitol Hill was short, agents weren’t sure how to transport him safely.  At the time, Federal Law prohibited buying any cars that cost more than $750, so they would have to get clearance from Congress to do that, and nobody had time for that.

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One of the Secret Service members, however, discovered that the US Treasury had seized the bulletproof car that mobster Al Capone owned when he was sent to jail in 1931.

They cleaned it, made sure it was running perfectly and had it ready for the President the next day .

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Al Capone’s 1928 Cadillac V-8 “Al Capone” Town Sedan Became the President’s Limo in December 1941.  Mechanics are said to have cleaned and checked each feature of the Caddy well into the night of December 7th, to make sure that it would run properly the next day for the Commander in Chief.  And run properly it did.

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It had been painted black and green to look identical to Chicago’s police cars at the time. To top it off, the gangster’s 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan had 3,000 pounds of armor and  inch-thick bulletproof windows.  It also had a specially installed siren and flashing lights hidden behind the grille, along with a police scanner radio.

Footnote: The car sold at auction in 2012 for $341,000.00.

Thought you’d like to know this little morsel of our nation’s history.

 

 

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